"I've been surprised by the kind of customers in the U.S. that came and talked to us about our pod and mesh approach to the data center," he says. "For us to reach out to [major] accounts is obviously something which is not simple. Accounts actually reach out to us, and are willing to have a conversation. That is very encouraging."
The company is also going after the converged campus, where a new generation of edge switches provides the infrastructure to deliver multimedia applications to work groups. Alcatel-Lucent just announced a new OmniSwitch, the 6450, to tackle this task.
The company is looking to sell data switches into its voice installed base to boost sales of the converged campus switches.
"We want to convince customers on the voice side of the house to leverage our infrastructure," Emelianoff says. "Voice represents 42% of our sales and we grew 15% last year. We see significant traction selling data to non-data customers."
And enlisting non-data partners to sell it. Emelianoff also sees a role for Alcatel-Lucent switches in the managed LAN services offered by its carrier customers, especially to midmarket enterprises.
He notes that with Cisco focusing on high-end customers with its end-to-end IT architectures, it's opening up the midmarket to Cisco alternatives focusing just on Ethernet switching requirements.
And selling more switches through carrier customers goes hand-in-hand with Alcatel-Lucent's plan to increase its partner ecosystem for Ethernet switching. Emelianoff acknowledges that this is currently a company weakness, especially in North America.
"We have a weakness in that market but a lot of opportunity," he says. "We're looking at shifting resources from areas where we have less chances to generate growth -- in North America we're increasing the focus on networks. We are trying to accelerate the recruitment of new partners in North America in line with our business priorities; and also leverage the partnership model we launched in [Asia Pacific] and Europe."
In early December, Alcatel-Lucent enlisted Citrix and NetApp as ecosystem partners in data center virtualization, storage and servers. The company is also engaged with VMware and Emulex.
"We go beyond interoperability testing to field engagements with management," Emelianoff says. "It's not about the number, it's about quality of partnership."